B-162701, NOV. 13, 1967

B-162701: Nov 13, 1967

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BIDS OF TWO BIDDERS WHICH WERE NOT COMPARABLE WITH PRICES FOR SIMILAR MATERIALS AND WHICH WERE FOUND TO BE IN ERROR BASED ON ERRONEOUS SUPPLIER QUOTATIONS MAY BE DISREGARDED. HARRISON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED OCTOBER 13. FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT RANGING FROM A LOW OF $4. 250 WAS SUBMITTED BY INDEX SALES. S. GINN WERE ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THEIR QUOTED PRICES WERE NOT COMPARABLE WITH THE PRICES PAID FOR SIMILAR MATERIALS. BOTH FIRMS STATED THAT THEIR BIDS WERE IN ERROR BECAUSE OF ERRONEOUS PRICE QUOTATIONS SUBMITTED BY THEIR SUPPLIER. EACH FIRM SUBMITTED COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM AIGNER WHICH SUPPORT THE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE BIDS WERE BASED ON ERRONEOUS SUPPLIER QUOTATIONS.

B-162701, NOV. 13, 1967

BIDS - MISTAKES - WITHDRAWAL DECISION TO GPO PERMITTING DISREGARDING BIDS OF BUSINESS SERVICES CORPORATION AND M.S. GINN AND COMPANY ON BASIS OF ERRORS. BIDS OF TWO BIDDERS WHICH WERE NOT COMPARABLE WITH PRICES FOR SIMILAR MATERIALS AND WHICH WERE FOUND TO BE IN ERROR BASED ON ERRONEOUS SUPPLIER QUOTATIONS MAY BE DISREGARDED.

TO MR. HARRISON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED OCTOBER 13, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE BIDS OF THE BUSINESS SERVICES CORPORATION AND THE M. S. GINN AND COMPANY MAY BE WITHDRAWN BEFORE AWARD, AND AWARD BE MADE TO THE THIRD LOW BIDDER, THE INDEX SALES CORPORATION.

ON SEPTEMBER 11, 1967, THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE ADVERTISED FOR PRICES ON 195,000 DIVIDERS (5,000 SETS OF 39 TABS), SIZE 10-1/2 INCHES X 8 INCHES PLUS 1/2 INCH TAB (OVERALL SIZE 10-1/2 INCHES X 8 1/2 INCHES). FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT RANGING FROM A LOW OF $4,400 FROM BUSINESS SERVICES AND $4,700 FROM M. S. GINN, TO A HIGH OF $8,737.50 FROM VULCAN BINDER AND COVER CO. THE THIRD LOW BID OF $7,250 WAS SUBMITTED BY INDEX SALES.

YOU REPORT THAT UPON REVIEWING THE BIDS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SUSPECTED THAT THE BIDS OF BUSINESS SERVICES AND M. S. GINN WERE ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THEIR QUOTED PRICES WERE NOT COMPARABLE WITH THE PRICES PAID FOR SIMILAR MATERIALS, AND BECAUSE OF THE WIDE VARIATION IN PRICES. SEPTEMBER 21, 1967, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CALLED BOTH FIRMS AND REQUESTED THEM TO REVIEW THEIR PRICES AND TO CONFIRM BY 11:00 A.M., SEPTEMBER 22, 1967. BOTH FIRMS CLAIMED ERRORS IN THEIR BIDS BEFORE THAT TIME. BY LETTERS OF SEPTEMBER 25, AND SEPTEMBER 27, 1967, BOTH FIRMS STATED THAT THEIR BIDS WERE IN ERROR BECAUSE OF ERRONEOUS PRICE QUOTATIONS SUBMITTED BY THEIR SUPPLIER, THE AIGNER INDEX COMPANY OF LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK. EACH FIRM SUBMITTED COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM AIGNER WHICH SUPPORT THE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE BIDS WERE BASED ON ERRONEOUS SUPPLIER QUOTATIONS. BUSINESS SERVICES REQUESTS THAT ITS BID BE WITHDRAWN AND M.S. GINN REQUESTS THAT ITS BID BE EITHER WITHDRAWN OR REVISED TO REFLECT THE NEW PRICE.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BELIEVES THAT AN HONEST MISTAKE EXISTS AND THAT IF A CONTRACT IS AWARDED TO EITHER COMPANY, THEY WOULD SUFFER CONSIDERABLE FINANCIAL LOSS IF REQUIRED TO COMPLY AT THE QUOTED RATES. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RECOMMENDS THAT THEY BE PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW THEIR BIDS, AND THAT AWARD BE MADE TO THE THIRD LOW BIDDER, INDEX SALES CORPORATION.

ON THE RECORD, THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE ERRORS WERE MADE AS ALLEGED, AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SUSPECTED THE EXISTENCE OF ERROR. THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575; 38 ID. 76. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERRORS WERE ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BIDS OF BUSINESS SERVICES AND M. S. GINN MAY BE DISREGARDED.